Last month at the annual meeting of the  American Psychiatric Association, Montefiore Health System announced a new partnership with Valera Health to integrate behavioral therapy into primary care using a mental health app. Valera is a smartphone app that engages patients with messaging, calendar function, targeted educational content, and remote self-assessment. In turn, this information will alert providers of any changes and may suggest clinical intervention.

For several years, one area of digital health that has attracted particular enthusiasm is mental health. While there have been some examples of poorly designed mental health apps over the years, we’ve also seen a number of more interesting and evidence-based medical apps come to market. In fact, many healthcare providers and insurers have started offering mental health apps and other digital services to their patients.

Montefiore and Valera’s pilot began in July 2016, and results showed a significant improvement in depression and anxiety scores. This app integration also allows care managers the ability to interact with more patients — up to 120 caseloads, according to Kelly Carleton the project manager of Montefiore’s federally-funded Behavioral Health Integration Programs (B-HIP).

A grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides this medical app to patients receiving medical and behavioral care at a primary care site in the Bronx, NY.